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Worlds beyond Earth

A STUNNING EXPLORATION OF WORLDS THAT SHARE OUR SOLAR SYSTEMFeaturing immersive visualizations of distant worlds, groundbreaking space missions, and breathtaking scenes depicting the evolution of our solar system, “Worlds beyond Earth”, created by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and narrated by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, takes viewers on an exhilarating journey that reveals the surprisingly dynamic nature of the worlds that orbit our Sun and the unique conditions that make life on our planet possible.

While humans have to yet to walk on another world beyond the Moon, “Worlds beyond Earth” celebrates the extraordinary Age of Exploration carried out by our closest proxies, robotic explorers, over the past 50 years. Created by an award-winning team from the American Museum of Natural History that includes scientists, educators, and science visualization experts, “Worlds beyond Earth” is an immersive theater experience based on authentic data from NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Japan Aerospace Exploration (JAXA) missions, telescopes, supercomputer simulations, and research conducted at institutions around the globe. Viewers will be taken on an adventure across the solar system, from our Moon and planetary neighbors Mars and Venus to beyond the asteroid belt, where worlds of ice and gas like Saturn and Jupiter host moons revealing active weather, erupting volcanoes, and buried oceans.

“Worlds beyond Earth” will “land” audience members on other worlds in our solar neighborhood, reconstructing actual events at specific locations, including a landing on the gray, cratered surface of the Moon, which viewers will reach by following an Apollo launch out of Cape Canaveral and the subsequent landing of the Lunar Module “Falcon,” carrying the first Lunar Roving Vehicle; and the liquid methane lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan, an almost Earthlike but extremely cold world 1.4 billion kilometers away, illuminated by ESA’s Huygens probe, launched from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Visualizations based on 13 years of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will show viewers Saturn’s impressive, swirling rings as never before: bubbling with moonlets—house-sized baby moons—that form through a process that scientists think may parallel planet formation in the solar system. In addition, audiences will encounter one of Jupiter’s many moons, Io, which is the most volcanically active object in the solar system despite being covered by ice; Europa, another Jupiter moon with more liquid water beneath its icy crust than all of the oceans on Earth; Comet 67P, a frozen object traveling between the inner and outer solar system that the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft chased for 10 years; and the dry and dusty landscape of Mars, based on high-resolution global maps from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Global Surveyor, and ESA’s Mars Express.

As “Worlds beyond Earth” viewers will see, NASA’s Magellan mission to Earth’s “twin” planet, Venus, revealed a world that once may have had conditions very similar to our planet’s but today has a surface hot enough to melt lead because of its long-term buildup of greenhouse gases. Sending spacecraft to explore Venus deepened scientists’ understanding of global warming and illuminated that pumping carbon dioxide into our own atmosphere leads to rising temperatures and threatens civilization on Earth. In contrast, our other solar neighbor, Mars, is freezing cold. Exploration reveals that Mars’ once-plentiful water supply and active volcanoes created conditions for life but that they didn’t last long, as demonstrated in a dramatic simulation of Mars’ surface evolution. The Red Planet’s core cooled quickly, causing its magnetic field to decay and allowing most of its atmosphere to be stripped away. What is left is a dry, frozen desert—a “failed Earth.”

Unlike Venus and Mars, Earth is surrounded by a strong magnetic field—powered by its hot, churning outer core, which is visualized in “Worlds beyond Earth”—that forms a shield that deflects solar wind and protects our atmosphere. Our planet pumps out heat, feeding volcanoes at the surface and helping to sustain this atmosphere with the perfect blend of molecules for life.

The script for “Worlds beyond Earth” is written by Natalie Starkey, a geologist who is an author and science communicator. The score is written by Robert Miller, a New York City composer, and was primarily recorded in Abbey Road Studios in London. It includes a classical guitar segment recorded in New York by musician and former New York Yankees baseball player Bernie Williams.

Wolrds beyond Earth was developed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (amnh.org).

Trailer

© 2020 American Museum of Natural History, New York
Info
Director Denton Ebel & Carter Emmart, American Museum of Natural History.
Producer Vivian Trakinski & Rosamond Kinzler, American Museum of Natural History. Gavin Guerra, documentary filmmaker.
Original title Worlds beyond Earth
Duration 45 minutes
Language Main show in German
Translation translated to f / i / e (headphones)
Recommended minimum age age 8
At the end of the main show there will be a live presentation (in German only) featuring the current night sky and astronomical events.

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